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Finding Aid

MS 96-8

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Size: 5.0 linear feet

Literary rights:
Literary rights were not granted to the Wichita State University. When permission is granted to examine the manuscripts, it is not an authorization to publish them. Manuscripts cannot be used for publication without regard for common law literary rights, copyright laws and the laws of libel. It is the responsibility of the researcher and his/her publisher to obtain permission to publish. Scholars and students who eventually plan to have their work published are urged to make inquiry regarding overall restrictions on publication before initial research.

Restrictions: None

Content note:
This collection of Mary Jane Teall’s papers chiefly contains information about the Wichita Community Theater. It includes a listing of more than 40 years of the theater’s productions, numerous playbills and other promotional materials. Financial reports, budgets, the theater’s constitution and by-laws, and information regarding its Board of Directors comprise another portion of the materials. An extensive collection of photographs documents more than 80 productions. A faculty member at the University of Wichita and Wichita State University, Mary Jane Teall was instrumental in founding the Wichita Community Theater, and was a vital force in the city’s theater productions for over 40 years.

Biographical note:
The name Mary Jane Teall has been synonymous with theater in Wichita for more than forty years. She was the founder and artistic director of the Wichita Community Theater, a professor and director at Wichita State University, and in 1981, she was inducted into the Kansas Theatre Hall of Fame.

Born in Tekamah, Nebraska, Teall studied theatre at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, in the 1930s. In 1945, a single parent, she came to Wichita to lead a teen club for an organization called Community Chest. Soon after that, members of her church, the First Unitarian Church, persuaded Teall to direct one-act plays in what was called the "Unitarian Experimental Theater." By 1946, the one-act plays had quickly evolved into the Wichita Community Theater. She has been widely credited with being the guiding light and driving force of the WCT for 43 years. Teall has acted, directed, sold tickets, collected and fabricated props, handled publicity, and dealt with budgetary problems. In addition with her involvement with the WCT, Teall also worked with Wichita State University where she taught, directed, and shared her expertise with students.

After 41 years as Artistic Director of the WCT, Teall resigned when a majority of the board passed a bylaw which stated that plays to be produced would be selected by a committee rather than the director.

Acquisition: Donated by the Teall Estate.

Processed by: MUB, December 14, 1995


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